Florence is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a favorite among those travelling in Italy. Florence, or in Italian “Firenze”, is known as the “Cradle of the Renaissance” due to the striking architecture and artworks from that time that the city houses. The historical center of Florence was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Evenings in Florence are magical. The buildings and statues light up and the streets fill up with street musicians and talented artists. As you walk through the historical center, your nose will fill up with the smell of different types of food from the varied restaurants and you’ll hear non-stop laughter while your ears enjoy the sound of live music coming from the bars. For those who love fashion, Florence will not disappoint as it is full of inspiration coming from show windows.
Florence was home to many of the most illustrious characters such as Amerigo Vespucci, Guccio Gucci, Giorgio Vasari and many famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raffaello Santi, Masaccio and many others.
Getting lost in Florence is a delight due to the many piazzas (squares) that the city encompasses. Each piazza is full of Renaissance art, history that dates back to centuries and centuries ago and a myriad of hidden gems. Piazza hopping is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on anything while here. Here are our favorites:
Piazza del Duomo is the main and most iconic one on Florence. It contains the famous Florence Cathedral (most recognized by its dome), the Giotto’s Campanile, St. John’s Baptistery and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, which contains most of the original artworks that used to be in the church and its adjacent buildings.
This piazza houses the Basilica de Santa Croce, which is he largest Franciscan church in the world as well as a statue in honour of Dante Alighieri and the famous Palazzo dell’Antella designed by several illustrious Italians.
San Lorenzo mostly contains buildings commissioned by the Medici family to Michelangelo. In the piazza we can find a lavishly-decorated basilica with the Medici Chapels, where over fifty members of the noble family are buried. Another interesting attraction is the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, also owned by the Medicis and holding thousands of originals books and manuscripts.
As all the other piazzas in Florence, della Santissima is dominated by its cathedral, the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, which used to be a pilgrimage destination after a painting left undone was miraculously completed overnight by, according to the legend, an angel. Another point of interest is the Ospedale degli Innocenti, an excellent example of immaculate Italian Renaissance architecture which used to serve as an orphanage. Finally the Palazzo Pandolfini and its striking garden are also worth a visit.
Known as the political hub of Florence where the city’s town hall (Palazzo Vecchio) is located along with a copy of Michelangelo’s David statue (the original was set here for many decades before it was moved to a museum). Adorning the piazza are a Neptune Fountain and a statue honouring the second duke of Florence, the Statue of I. Cosimo de’ Medici. Other interesting attractions are Palazzo Ugaccioni, a Renaissance Palace; Logia dei Lanzi and Ufizzi Gallery.
Updated: May 4, 2015